With guest Scott Hamilton sitting in on half the album, Jimmy Bruno’s session oozes with guitar and bass technique. However, as happens sometimes, the increased technical prowess causes Bruno’s session to lose some of its swing. His guitar pick produces blistering single-note runs that thrill the listener. In doing so, he’s overlooked the need for added variety and for the space to let things simmer. Bruno was born to a musical family. His mother was a singer and his father played jazz guitar at Philadelphia clubs throughout the ‘60s. At the age of 19 Bruno went on the road with Buddy Rich. Following that came stints in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and a return to Philadelphia.
"I Can’t Give You Anything But Love" is performed solo by the guitarist. On the classic Jimmy McHugh tune, Bruno provides a walking bass line and embellishes the melody. His style is a healthy one, with technical mastery serving to fill in gaps while the swing of the original melody is never forgotten. On his web site Bruno is described as one who "plays from within the tradition of straight-ahead jazz while taking the guitar to a new technical level." The site is at http://www.jimmybruno.com .
Through "Poinciana," "Joy Spring," and the other opening numbers of Bruno’s session, his fluid guitar blends with bass and drums for solid playing by the trio. "Broadway," "I Want To Be Happy" and "I Hear a Rhapsody" swing out, as the trio works behind Scott Hamilton. He and Bruno share the spotlight. "Darn That Dream," a ballad, gets a lush treatment with light bass and drum accompaniment. "Lover Man" is a guitar-sax duet with attention paid to the lyrical melody. The session swings in a few places, but for the most part relies solely on dry technique without a spark to light the fire.
Track Listing: Reticulation; Chesapeake Blues; Joy Spring; Poinciana; (I Can
Personnel: Jimmy Bruno- guitar; Craig Thomas- bass; Vince Ector- drums; Scott Hamilton- tenor saxophone.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.